Homework Stress-How To Deal With It
The term homework often provokes stress and anxiety both in children and their parents. The main point of homework is that is the child's responsibility and not that of the parents. Basically children will get homework form kindergarten on. They have to get the homework done and it becomes a fact of life that starts early on. The parent's role is to know the homework requirements and make sure they are done on time. It is best to get to know the pattern of homework assignments. Actually, parents have to find the right balance between not doing the homework for their children, and helping only when needed. This is easier said than done. The more a parent is familiar with the child's and teacher's homework patterns, the easier the parent can adapt an approach. Again the main point, is that the homework is the child's responsibility.
Homework wars, when they occur are quite disruptive of course and should be avoided. By forming good habits from the beginning, homework can be done routinely and smoothly. Also, as children are different, try to find out what works best for your child's specific needs and situation. What works for another child may not work for yours. Here are some tips and suggestions to help develop and maintain good homework habits:
- Schedule homework in as any other activity
- Maintain common interests or activities (cultural or athletic) outside of school
- Set up a proper study area. This may be the kitchen table or another quiet area.
- Establish a daily homework time and reinforce it. Parents at work should call to make sure that the homework is done. By doing so it shows children their parents actually care even though they are at work
- Children should do homework independently, but seek help when needed
- In the early grades, parents need to know what the child has for homework, so that they can explain to their child what the homework task requires
- If parents do not understand the homework assignments, having the child call a classmate to clarify may help. This promotes networking which is a necessary life skill anyway!
- Consistently praise your child's effort
- Use reasonable incentives if necessary especially in children who have difficulties. For example, a child can go out play when homework is completed
- Parents should be firm if a child refuses to complete their homework, making it clear that they are capable of doing their homework and that their teacher believes they are able too
- Reviewing homework progress is also a good idea. For example parents can say: "start your homework and show me what you have done in 15 minutes"
If problems persists despite best efforts, parents should contact the school teacher. Homework conflicts can often be settled by the teacher. By understanding the homework battle situation, the teacher may have some suggestions and can collaborate with parents to help with the difficulties. Most teachers want to be part of a team approach.